Microsoft develops great internal applications too

COMPANY: Microsoft Corp.
PURPOSE: (MOET 97) To bring Microsoft's ordering system "online" with overseas OEM and resellers
PURPOSE: (MS Market) Streamline internal procurement systems and integrate with SAP financial system
PURPOSE: (RideShare) Centralize car pooling for employees in the greater Seattle area

APPLICATIONS: MOET 97, MS Market, RideShare -- Microsoft Corp. is well known for Windows and Windows-based systems like Office Suite, Visual InterDev and Internet Explorer. But the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant's I/S unit has also developed a number of internal applications that have turned some heads. Application Development Trends is recognizing three of Microsoft's innovative business applications: RideShare, Moet 97 and MS Market.

Of the three, Moet 97 arguably has the biggest impact on Microsoft's bottom line and its relationship with OEM vendors. Moet 97 is an Internet-based electronic commerce system that supports the order process between Microsoft's business partners and its Worldwide Operations organization. Moet 97 allows remote vendors from around the world to enter product orders directly into Microsoft's EDI system via the Internet, said James Dunkelberger, program manager for the Moet project.

In late 1995, a plan was developed to build an electronic commerce system that could serve business partners around the globe.

During the spring of 1996, a 10-member team began programming the system using Microsoft's fledgling Internet software. The project took nearly nine months because the technology was so new to the developers.

The system went live in January 1997 and over the past year has expanded to all parts of the world except for North America, which still utilizes the original EDI system. Dunkelberger said Microsoft handled approximately 32,000 distinct transactions, worth around $400 million during February 1998, alone. Roughly 700 partner companies use the system.

MS Market is Microsoft's internal E-commerce system for procurement of everything from paper and pencils to business cards to catering services. Two years ago, prior to MS Market's implementation, paper and pencil handled the internal procurement process, a manual and non-cost efficient method.

A team of nine, at peak project time, lead by Dale Christian, Microsoft's director of corporate procurement information technology, moved the procurement to the corporate Intranet in an effort to save the company money and centralize ordering. The goal was to increase transaction velocity, decrease total procurement costs, enable better supplier relationships and to provide an interface to Microsoft's SAP R/3 corporate financial system. The project's initial sponsor, Chief Financial Officer Gregory Maffei, wanted tighter integration between R/3 and internal procurement.

RideShare: With over 20,000 employees in the greater Seattle area, Microsoft has faced some pressure by local authorities to implement a more effective car pooling solution to help cut down on pollution and traffic congestion. At stake could be new building permits or even fines, according to Lisa Wilson, a senior manager in the advances systems group at Microsoft.

Wilson oversaw the project team of three to five people that built a car pool management system on the corporate Intranet.

Once the system rolled out last August, the number of people car pooling increased dramatically. Also, the local county government has been interested in purchasing the system and rolling it out to all big corporations in the Seattle area, Wilson said.

- Jason J. Meserve


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